In partnership with others, we take our services to where they are most needed and where they can be accessed most effectively. This includes direct legal assistance to marginalised citizens to help prevent homelessness, resolve civil debts and reduce the impact of the law on people living in poverty or experiencing personal hardship.
Our casework makes a difference in at least two ways:
- every client matters - and every client benefits from the support and assistance of our lawyers; and
- every case informs the wider effort of our partner agencies to advocate for law reform in order to reduce the burden of the legal system on marginalised citizens.
MinterEllison's pro bono advice and legal representation has contributed to:
- the landmark 'Not Such a Fine Thing' report by the Public Interest Advocacy Centre which resulted in major reforms to the fines system in NSW
- the Fines Reform Act in Victoria in 2014 and previous reforms to reduce the burden of unpaid fines on people experiencing homelessness and other forms of disadvantage
- a successful Court of Appeal case in Queensland leading to attention and reform in relation to the 'moving on' of homeless people
- the prevention of dozens of evictions of vulnerable clients from public housing through effective legal case work
- the reduction or waiver of significant civil debts for clients experiencing hardship
- the reduction or waiver of unpaid fines for clients experiencing homelessness, mental health issues and/or drug addiction
- successful applications for compensation under victim assist schemes
- the introduction of a pilot scheme in Victoria in 2018 to prevent the issuing of transport fines to people experiencing homelessness and other forms of social disadvantage
- ongoing advice and representation for Indigenous clients through a decade-plus outreach partnership with the Kookaburra Club and Darebin Community Legal Centre